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Mike's Minute: Government's Covid spin is out of control

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 29 Jan 2021, 9:53AM

Mike's Minute: Government's Covid spin is out of control

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 29 Jan 2021, 9:53AM

As we end the week mired in a entirely avoidable Covid mess, yet again, we are seeing, yet again the architecture of the government and the way they operate.

Having on Wednesday promised us that the testing debacle we saw in Northland wouldn't happen again because they learn from their mistakes, we end up on Thursday with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff asking the hell was going on when a testing site wasn't open, the nurses hadn't turned up, and the queues were long.

At the start of the week, we saw the usual scramble involving not a lot of actual fact, and an awful lot of spin. The air conditioning was this particular cock up's scapegoat. Like Americold, where they blamed the meat, not the border.

They fly a kite, under the auspices of “leaving no stone unturned.” Then having flown the kite, the next day they say it's unlikely. And as long as people keep asking, they keep saying it's increasingly unlikely until people stop asking. They then breathe a sigh of relief.

They look at CCTV footage, and they do that forever until you forget to ask what it found, which is inevitably nothing.

The Northland woman, remember her at the start of the week? They were scouring footage, did they tell you what they found? Of course not.

And while the queues grow, the anxiety grows, yet again.

The questions get asked as to why the government keep ignoring the experts on MIQ. Stay in rooms, isolate before getting on a plane, isolate after MIQ, no mixing day four with day one, or day 12, no flights from Britain or the States. In response they stall, obfuscate, slip, and slide.

And then after the first case, and then the next two, by the end of the week, guess who turns up? Our absent Prime Minister who yet again has hung poor old Chris Hipkins out to dry. At which point she ponders out loud whether or not we shouldn't be tightening things up a bit.

Surely, by now a year into this Covid mess, even the most ardent Labour Party apologist must be starting to wonder if this lot is actually up to anything at all.

By the way, read the Simpson-Roche report into the Ministry of Health they slipped under the radar before Christmas. There are good clues in there as to why you have a fatal combination of a useless Ministry, a lazy government and why shutting the border of a tiny island nation with a multi-thousand-mile moat was really the only reason we've come out of this ok.

If it had been any more complex than being at the bottom of the world, we'd be stuffed by now.

The upside is the government's weak point is pressure. They buckle to it. Their view on Monday is not their view on Friday, because they essentially make it up as they go along.

If this is them for 2021, god help the vaccine rollout.    

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